States ask FG to redeem N67.2bn COVID-19 bailout

HEALTH Commissioners in the country have urged the Federal Government to redeem its pledge of assisting 32 states across the country with the sum of N 67.2 bn to enable them to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Chairman of Nigeria Commissioners for Health Forum, Dr Betta Edu, made the call on behalf of her colleagues while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday .
Edu, who is also the Cross River State Health Commissioner, said the Federal Government had pledged N 2.1bn each to 32 states, which did not benefit from the initial support to Lagos, Kano, Ogun and Jigawa.
Lagos had earlier got a grant of N 10 bn, Kano (N5bn), Ogun (N2bn) and Jigawa, N 2 bn from the Federal Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year.
But the health commissioners said the non- release of the FG's grant to the remaining states was hindering the war against the pandemic.
Edu said, “We have not received financial support from the Federal Government but we received technical assistance from the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“We were very happy when the PTF announced that it would be supporting 32 states with N2.1bn each to assist us to get the COVID- 19 response working in all the states.”
On the challenges being faced by the states, Edu identified inadequate funding, difficulties in sample collection and lack of capacity for training health workers.
She said, “Most states do not have sample collection kits. They do not also have enough capacity to train those who could be collecting samples in all the local government areas.”

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